Stan's Cafe: One looks, marvels and understands

Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Adrian Howells

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

Shock and sadness hit the Stan’s Cafe office earlier this week as Craig’s Twitter antenna picked up the shocking news of Adrian Howell’s death.

I’m not going to gush here because I only met Adrian a few times and so barely knew him. I respected what I knew of his work but never experienced it. With the limited capacity of those pieces I had access to there was always a queue and I always felt others would get more from it than me. But he was always very friendly and great company. Reading the heartfelt tributes from so many people is moving, not least because it is a stark reminder of how difficult it can be for some to truly access the love that surrounds them.

I am grateful to Robert Pacitti for digging out this excellent obituary in The Scotsman. It filled in lots of gaps I knew nothing of. I am also grateful to Andy Field for writing this lovely piece in The Guardian.

It is good to see Adrian publicly acknowledged as he is privately appreciated. I will miss him in my own small way but my heart goes out to all those who are grieving. In a grim irony with Adrian gone they need someone to embrace them.

Wim Mertens

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

This morning our Agent in Leeds prompted me to re-listen to a bit of Wim Mertens. Continue reading “Wim Mertens” »

BBC Archive

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

On Thursday Craig and I visited the BBC Media Centre on Wood Lane to learn about the corporation’s archive. We had an great time. The archive boggled out minds and we didn’t see anything beyond photo copies of a few letters. Then the letters did include the pitch for Desert Island Discs (two paragraphs long); the pitch for The Archers, George Orwell’s appraisal and resignation, plus The Rolling Stones writing in the hope they may get a gig and someone tipping off a superior about a young girl with an excellent singing voice (Julie Andrews). Continue reading “BBC Archive” »

Provocation #1

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Last Tuesday (4th) we took one of our stepladders on a trip to the British Library Conference Centre to install a piece to coincide with The Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value. Continue reading “Provocation #1” »

Brick Forensics

Monday, February 3rd, 2014


It pays to be curious about EVERYTHING. A couple of weekends ago a family trip took us to Blists Hill, the Victorian Museum in Iron Bridge. Essentially after being primed in a Visitor Centre you are unleashed into a fragment of a Victorian Town. You can go to a Victorian Bank to change your money into old school pounds, shilling and pence which is valid currency in the pub and various shops. You can call in to see artisans carving, making candles, plaster figures all in original, or very nearly original buildings. For me however the highlight was listening to The Brick Man. It didn’t seem very promising – “do you want to see my collection of bricks?” Continue reading “Brick Forensics” »

Hocus Pocus

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Please Help Us – Mobile from Johnny O'Hanlon on Vimeo.

We don’t normally carry Crowd Sourcing pleas on our blog because we don’t believe that’s what you come here for, but…

This afternoon the excellent Johnny O’Hanlon and I were plotting the latest Space adventures we hope to Year 5 on at Billesley Primary school, he mentioned his work with Hocus Pocus Theatre Group who meet at mac in Cannon Hill Park regularly. They are a group of actors with learning disabilities who devise their own shows. They’re looking for £875 to make a new show. They’ve had £790 pledged and if they don’t get the remaining £45 pledged by Monday they lose everything pledged so far.

For them, and for Johnny’s commitment to them, I have broken our rule.

A Coincidence

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Our Japanese/Robotics sleuth has put us onto this clip, which documents a highly peculiar cultural event. Watch it and enjoy, then at 5 min 4 sec and 7 min 64 sec in those with very long memories may recognize two ideas that appeared in No Walls, Just Doors our collaboration with Stage 2 way back in 1997. Even our outrageous arrogance won’t allow us to claim to have be ripped off by the Japanese choreographer, these are just the obvious things to do when you have a large troupe of highly skilled and disciplined performers at your disposal.

School’s Out

Friday, December 20th, 2013

School’s out, but unfortunate Year 11 Students at Washwood Heath Academy earned their break this morning by enduring a Geography revision lesson lead by a theatre director who got his ‘A’ Level Geography qualification before tectonic plates were invented. He insisted all the students had been beamed down from another planet to explore the earth and needed to report back their findings. They took it in good spirit and displayed an impressive knowledge of the biosphere, well done them.

Obviously the day our internet service provider staggers under the weight of corporate ‘What we’ve done this year’ propaganda. Which always proves informative if not a bit saccharine after the third dose. This year Craig knocked up our version using Comic Life. If you haven’t had your brain washed enough already you are very welcome to download the comic and digest it – Craig’s jokes sweeten the pill.

Moving Image

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Re-imagining this world as another world is one of my favourite pastimes so obviously Streets of Myth is spot for me, it is to be a martial arts series set in an alternative Birmingham. They are looking to raise money for the project and this teaser is very seductive.

The timing of Streets of Myth coming to my inbox was spot on as I’d just been fired up by Seijun Suzuki’s Branded to Kill which I loved, a great start to my resolution to watch a load of Japanese Film Noir.

Wonderful Day

Friday, August 30th, 2013


What a heartwarming day Friday was. Friends of Stan Catherine & Peter celebrated the birth of their second child. Over @ A E Harris family and friends of another happy couple came together collaborating on the set up of spectacular wedding reception. At the Library of Birmingham, despite having a huge list of ‘things to do’, Phil Degg and a growing phalanx of technicians helped Jon grappling with the problem of streaming audio out of the library’s secure networking arrangements for The Commentators to go global on Monday night. Back @ A E Harris Poppy, Amelia and Eve were eagerly re-stocking the bar and preparing wood for next Friday’s engagement at Washwood Heath Academy. To round of a great day of communal endeavor we called in at the fantastic Moseley Folk festival just in time to catch Ocean Colour Scene rip into a rapturously received homecoming gig.

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